Brazil performs for Pro-Immigration
Throughout the entire school year the most exciting final I have done was creating a parade. What made this final most exciting was the fact that it had to be created by my group and myself from scratch. My group’s name was Brazil and our performance was based on immigration, pro immigration. We decided to make it pro immigration because each and every one of us, relating to my group and myself, has at least one different ethnic background. Besides being born in America we had parents born in Mexico or Italy. If it was not for our professor, Anna Scott, demonstrating us dance moves throughout the quarter we would have had a lot of difficulties trying to make up dance move. Throughout the entire parade every dance move we utilized came from the dance moves we learned throughout the quarter, but of course we added our own meaning to each move since our theme was pro immigration. For every element—choreography, music, signs, gestures, signs, costume, and props—our group cooperated, we all came up with ideas as a group but towards the end we assigned an element to each individual.
The first element that my group decided to discuss was the costume, in which this case I was assigned to be the costume designer. It did not take us long to decide on our costume because we all agree upon our first choice. We decided to wear white shirts because white represents peace; it signifies a positive vive. Also, we decided on wearing jeans and simple shoes because when an immigrant comes to the United States illegally they do not put much attention in what their wearing. Therefore, our costume came out just how we wanted it to b; plain and simple, but at the same time it has significance, each and every part.
The next element we decided to knowledge was our chant. Just like our costume, out chant was not difficult to find. Sharon, a group member, was surfing online looking at pictures of protests that immigrants have done. She noticed that an individual was holding up a poster saying, “Immigrants United for Justice,” right away she decided that it should be our chant. Since our group was pro immigration this chant was perfect. During our parade, we decided to say our chant when we were in the concrete near the fields. While we were chanting it was interesting how people would stop and listen to what we were saying. We were not aware though that we had to say our chant in front of our professor and judges.
Props were the next element to easy to get out of the way. Most of the times that people want to protest they always have some kind of instrument that makes noise. Jennifer, who was in charge of props, brought in whistles because it allows the group to receive attention from audience which was something we were aiming towards. Also, she brought in streams. Honestly at first my group thought they looked cute and cool, but of course we were not going to be able to utilize them for those reasons. We came up with significance, life. The colorful colors represented happiness and joy, feeling immigrants’ posses before leaving their family to start a better future and feeling they posses once they have made it through the border. In our performance in front of our judges, after we had crossed the border, that was when we decided to pull out our streamers and celebrate.
Subsequently, we moved on to the song. Geoff, had one of the songs that Professor Scott had played for the class earlier that quarter. Unfortunately, my group does not recall the name of the song. On the other hand, we decided to go with that song because it was one of the songs played by the professor. We did not use it only because we liked it, but also because it was one of the sings utilized through the quarter.
The last element we decided to work upon was our choreography. This was the last element to achieve because it was the hardest, we would come up with good dance move but we could not find a meaning for them. This is when our group decided to utilize moves the professor had thought us, but only if we were able to put a meaning into it. We began with a circle, which signified unity, and we were dancing samba since it was a dance thought in class. Then we parted and stood besides out partners, we had Geoff and Jorge be the first ones since men are always stereotyped as masculine and protectors, which is mostly why it is the male that leaves the family behind to move to immigrate to this country. Geoff and Jorge began macheting to clear a path for the ladies, while ladies—us—where sowing, which is mostly what women do. Then once we were at the pavement, we began chanting “Immigrants United for Justice,” while we were boxing, because boxing showed that we were preparing for a struggle, which was coming to this country illegally. Going down the ramp we did the mirror sign that was used by Oxúm, one mirror—one hand—represented the future, what immigrants see in coming to this country, while in the other mirror—the other hand—represented what was being left behind. Then we swam our way too the judges, which is how some immigrants come to this country.
Once in front of the judges, Sharon and I became the border; moving our arms in different directions because regulations always change. Then one at a time, each individual approached us trying to cross the border, some succeed but some were sent back home. Some swam their way across, while others jumped the border. After everyone crosses we all made a circle and reunited. We began to samba because once again, this was one of the dances taught in our course. We parted, took out our streamers and began to celebrate the fact that we made it through the border. We exited the judges by performing one of the danced done by lenmanja, we moved our hand from left to right, forward and backwards, which signified agriculture, usually what immigrant go into once in this country.
Throughout this project, I learned things about myself that I did not know. Most importantly, I learned how much the fact that my parents are immigrants has affected my family and me. I also learned that there are many ways that I could express my feelings without having to be verbal, but physical. I enjoyed this project so much that I have been thinking about teaching my younger sibling about the importance of music and dance.
Posted by Yesenia Colmenero